"Efficient registration at reception. ..."

About: Darlington Memorial Hospital

(as a relative),

What I liked

Efficient registration at reception. Hospital administrator was able to obtain details about my father from his date of birth.

What could be improved

More efficient system for providing care at A&E department. I attended the department at 6.45 on Sunday evening with my father who is an 83 year old diasbetic patient, we were kept waiting over 4 and a half hours.

The department is being refurbished and the waiting area was extremely crowded with a noisy TV (we could not see due to the positioning of the seats).

I appreciate that care is provided according to the severity of the presenting condition of the patient, however I feel that many things could be improved to make the experience more positive.

I had telephoned the hospital before attending, I was enquiring to find out if there was a procedure for somone needing eye care (my father only has one eye due to glaucoma and had been told by the RVI in Newcastle that if he ever had a problem to present quickly at eye casualty). I was told there was no specific eye casualty in Darlington and that A&E would refer to an opthamologist if it was needed. I enquired about waiting time and was told there was very little waiting time, so I had left my elderly mother at home and brought my father to the hospital.

The triage took place relatively quickly, however the nurse showed no enthusiasm, compassion or professionalism she simply filled in a form - I felt she could have been replaced by a computer. After wauiting an hour without any further communication from hospital staff I enquired at reception about waiting times and was told to go to the nursing station and ask. A senior nyurse checked and said my father had only been waiting an hour and the wait time from his arival was one and a half hours. I left my father at the hospital and retutrned home to car for my mother, when I got back my father was still waiting (2hours in total at this stage) I went to check again at the nursing station to find out if he had missed his name as he is partially deaf and there is no calll system in place (I had dificulty hearing the staff calling for patients).

Anything else?

My father was eventually seen 4 hours after coming to the hospital, the consultation took 5 mins, the room had not been cleaned after the previous patient. The doctor wore gloves to examine my father however I did not see him wash his hands after seeing the previous patient and before putting the gloves on and he did not wash his hands after taking the gloves off. The doctor prescribed antibiotic eye cream and we were sent back to the waiting area to wait for the cream. I waited another 20 mins then decided to find out what was happening, the staff were extremely busy and had forgotten about my father. I eventually got the cream and we left the hospital at 11.15 pm.

The department is not coping with the number of patients. Can the hospital re assure me that it is looking at improving the system. I would have happily attended the walk in centre or urgent care centre if I had been advised to do that at any time. PLease communicate to avoid wasting so much time

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